R3 has announced a deal with Singapore’s financial regulatory authority to establish the first dedicated distributed ledger technology (DLT) Center of Excellence in the Asian region.

The New York-based financial innovation company R3 has partnered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to open the blockchain lab in Singapore. The project is a part of the company’s strategy to increase its footprint in the Asian region.

The MAS will support the new R3 lab to drive cooperation between financial institutions in the region in order to promote the development of the distributed ledger technology (DLT). The blockchain solutions will help financial institutions to minimize costs, as well as enhance transparency and efficiency of their operations.

Singapore’s R3 lab will host a dedicated R&D centre and a physical Centre of Excellence to accommodate visiting specialist DLT technologists and business leaders.

With a new hub in Singapore, R3 will be able to effectively support local clients and effectively work with its members in the Asian region. The lab will include R3’s staff members as well as technology and business experts from member companies.

“The practical spin-offs from fundamental research in distributed ledgers and blockchains are beginning to be realized,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. “MAS is pleased to collaborate with the financial industry through broad, international, consortia such as R3 to create and conduct rigorous experiments that will inform and encourage adoption of these advances.”

Tim Grant, CEO of R3 lab, commented: “We are honoured and delighted to build on our relationship with MAS and to signal our strong intent to support Singapore as a leading global fintech hub as well as the entire Asia-Pacific region. We look forward to deepening our relationships with local financial services companies, regulatory bodies and the tertiary education community, and to using Singapore as a means to connecting the region with our many initiatives around the world.”

According to David Rutter, Group CEO of R3, Singapore is the perfect location for the new R3 lab as it is one of the globe’s main fintech centres. “We are honoured to have the support from the MAS and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to research and develop applications that can help regulators and financial institutions improve efficiency, transparency and reduce costs.”

Currently, the R3 consortium includes more than 70 major banks. One of the group’s latest projects is Corda, the distributed ledger platform designed to improve assets transactions among financial institutions. Unveiled in August, the system will be tested next year, with the alpha version is planned to be launched in the summer.

About two months ago, eight banks from the consortium completed a trial of the blockchain prototype for US treasury bonds trading. The prototype is an implementation of Intel’s proprietary distributed ledger platform, called Sawtooth Lake. The test of the platform is a demonstration of how the blockchain technology can be used to facilitate transactions in real world markets.

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